One of the biggest differences I find in the novitiate compared to life outside is access to information. Before entering the Novitiate, in fact, I was largely accustomed to receiving notifications on my mobile phone whenever something important was happening in the world. Brief flashes of news with which the world was knocking on my pocket at all hours were then added to my morning listening to the news podcasts of one of the major Italian newspapers to which I subscribed.
Here in the novitiate I don’t have a smartphone so I had to update my way of accessing information. We receive in subscription the Catholic daily newspaper Avvenire from the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI), which arrives regularly from Tuesday to Friday, while the Saturday and Sunday editions arrive together on Monday, due to the two days off of the postman. On Sundays, however, we can read the Corriere della sera with its literature insert.
We are generally informed about what is happening in the rest of the world through the weekly magazine Internazionale, which carries a selection of articles from the world’s leading newspapers, translated into Italian. In addition to this information magazine, we receive La Civiltà Cattolica every two weeks and Aggiornamenti Sociali every month. These two magazines of the Society of Jesus, although with a different focus, try to follow and deepen current issues together with cultural and religious ones, the first one, and economic and social ones, the second one. In addition to the printed information, we have the possibility, for half an hour a day, to access the web to possibly consult the free sections of national and foreign newspapers.
Not having my smartphone at my disposal has taught me again to distinguish clearly between the times of the day’s activities. In fact, if my first appointment in the morning is my meeting with Jesus in prayer, I am sure that I will not be disturbed by notifications or tempted to read the first news or messages. I have the possibility of having an in-depth analysis of reality through the aforementioned magazines that offer a Catholic or lay point of view on the events of the last few days. In short, all I have to do is read. So yes, we have heard that there is war in Europe and we have the opportunity to investigate the facts without the hassle of Western or Russian propaganda.